chart of state-level abortion restrictionsEnviros don’t like to talk about abortion. Almost no one does. But you can’t have a sustainable society if women are having children they don’t want.

Yes, of course, it’s better to prevent pregnancy in the first place. That’s good reason to applaud the Obama administration’s decision to make insurers cover the full cost of birth control. We also need to build up other family-planning programs, provide our teens with real sex education, and develop better birth-control methods. But even under the best of circumstances, contraception sometimes fails and a backstop is needed. 

Abortion rights are currently getting a vicious pummeling from out-of-touch right-wingers around the country. In the first half of this year, 80 restrictions on abortion were enacted in 19 states, more than triple the 23 enacted by states in 2010, according to an analysis by the Guttmacher Institute. See the alarming chart top right.

This video from Guttmacher is a fascinating look at who’s having abortions in America. In short, a lot of us:

A few takeaway points:

  • “Almost one out of every three American women will have an abortion by age 45.”
  • “Six in 10 women having an abortion already have a child.”
  • “Over the past decade, abortion has become increasingly concentrated among poor women. In 2008, more than four in 10 abortion patients had incomes below the federal poverty line.”
  • “Contraception should be easy to get and use for all. And comprehensive sex education should be available to all adolescents.”
  • “But while prevention is key, there will always be women who need abortions.”

This is the latest in a series of Saturday GINK videos about population and reproduction (or a lack thereof).